Samsung's Galaxy S5: What's on my wish list

Samsung's Galaxy S5: What's on my wish list

Summary: The Samsung Galaxy S5 will need a new shtick beyond the S4's plastic body, life companion and software feature overload approach.


Samsung is dropping hints about the Galaxy S5 and likely features and the rumor mill is starting to go into overdrive for what's likely to be a launch in March or April. One thing is clear though: Samsung has a high hurdle rate to replicate the success of the S3 launch.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 launch was strong and sales followed, but gripes that the latest flagship smartphone was basically an updated S3 persisted. In an interview with Bloomberg, Samsung's Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of its mobile business, acknowledged as much.

Samsung will reportedly go back to basics and focus on the display and hardware feel. Apparently all of those Samsung Galaxy S4 software features that bordered on gimmicky weren't enough to stoke interest. The other item upping the ante for Samsung is that there are worries about growth for the Korean electronics giant. Samsung has a broad portfolio of stuff---CES 2014 is basically a Samsung showcase in many respects---but a Galaxy S5 flop would tarnish the halo effect in a big way.

With that in mind, here's a look at my wish list for the Galaxy S5. I have a Galaxy S4 and like the smartphone, but the next version of the device needs to woo me a bit more. Frankly, a Nokia running Android would be interesting to me (even though such a device is more rumor than anything.

More: Samsung teases Galaxy S5 details, new Gear and iris scanning | Samsung Galaxy S5: Release date, rumours and specs | CNET's CES Samsung coverage

Hardware changes and metal: The Galaxy S4 is big and thin, but plastic. That build doesn't put me off, but I'd be disappointed if I had an S3 first. The Galaxy S5 has to have something different. It'll need a metal frame at the least or some hardware change to get folks to give it a look. I doubt that a fancier screen will do the trick. How high-def do we really have to get on a smartphone?

s4 life companion
The Samsung Galaxy S5 will need a new shtick beyond the S4's plastic body and life companion rap.


Two killer apps (and that's it): Samsung threw the software sink at the Galaxy S4. You can scroll with your eyes, hover over icons and multitask handily. The built-in S Health app is handy too. However, all of these features could disappear tomorrow and I doubt I'd miss them. Samsung's goal is to make your life easier, but throwing software features at the problem is a shot-gun approach. For the Galaxy S5 to be a big hit, it needs two software features that will woo the masses with an emotional response.

Biometrics done right: I have an iPhone 5s too and find the fingerprint scanner also to be a gimmick in many ways. It just doesn't do much for me. Samsung's eye scrolling technology could become an iris reading approach as hinted by the company. But the biometrics have to be done right. I've tried fingerprints and face recognition to open my phone. The PIN wins every time. If Samsung can't nail the biometric approach well it may be best to sit it out. I doubt people will care. Biometrics just aren't the end-all when buying a device.

Software refinement: The Galaxy S4 is a hodge podge of Android and Samsung applications. For the most part, the mashup works. However, Samsung should spend a bit more time on the user experience and overall feel of the software. Just smooth it out a bit. These changes, which would probably be hardly noticed by many, would improve the S5. I have low hopes that the S5 will have a totally smooth software approach. Samsung's approach just doesn't allow it to cut features and simplify. After all, the company wants to dominate your house and connect every gadget you have. It's far more likely Samsung will add some bloat to the Galaxy S5 so it can talk to the bendable TV you won't buy immediately or connect to your refrigerator and washer.

Overall, the Galaxy S5 may disappoint many just because it has a high hurdle rate to surprise us. The S3 and S4 have done well and it's increasingly difficult in the smartphone market to offer us something we didn't even know we needed.

Topics: Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones

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  • #1 no lag!

    my S4 is such a regret.
    • The biggest problem with Android, especially Samsun

      is upgrades to newer versions of Android and for those to be done within a short time-frame.

      It is inconceivable that is not No 1 on the list!
      • How?

        Please tell me? How is this even important?

        Google Now was on the server side and even phones that didn't get updates were able to use it...

        A lot of times you see that Apple got feature X, and those people running Samsungs on version 4.2.x instead of 4.4.x are like, "My phone already does that!"

        Remember when it was advised not to update firmware unless your device had a problem? Remember when Operating Systems weren't free for upgrades? Now what you're saying is that it doesn't matter if your product is already ahead with features, they should give you the free upgrade just because!

        As for the "Biggest Problem" with Android, it is Google Plus and that's going to land Google in front of Antitrust regulators in much the same way that IE did to Microsoft.
    • You don't want lag...

      Get a Moto X and your lag will disappear. Every review on youtube pretty much says the phone has no lag and it is the first Android phone they've used where this has been true.
      • Slap Cyanogenmod on there

        I have an Asus Transformer TF300T that gets dog slow after using it for a bit. My wife's TF300 was so bad that after she clicked an icon it took 20 or 30 seconds to open.

        After putting Cyanogenmod on (ver 10.2) these tablets scream. And the interesting thing is that the same amount of available memory exists now as it did with Asus' setup.

        Which has me wondering what these vendors are doing to the OS to cause such lag. Asus "looks" pretty much stock. But obviously it isn't. That or the Cyanogenmod team is just that awesome (and no, I haven't contributed any code to or am on the Cyanogenmod team :-)
  • #2 button location

    windows phone does it best, all on thumb side with a dedicated camera button.
    • Windows?

      Win phone...hehehe....

      You can say I'm holding a grudge but Microsoft lost my business with the mess they called WinMo 6/6.5.
      • so what does that have to do with where buttons are?

        google lost my business the day they started there wifi snooping and disregarding our privacy but I don't hold a grudge, I just don't use any of the junk they make.
        • That's why I kept with iPhone

          I also use Bing for searching the web on the iPhone and iPad. I don't trust Google anymore and that's why I will never use an Android phone.
          • Miss my iPhone! Just waiting for bigger screen!!

            If I wasn't going blind, I never would have switched a few months ago to the Note 3, but even though it's screen is bigger and much more fun to navigate the Web with, you can't beat the piece of mind the iPhone brings. I hate that with supposedly four cores, it still seems to get stuck on opening simple enough emails. I never sold my 4S and still use it from time to time at home because it just works. If Apple comes out with a bigger screen than the 5S I bought my wife, I'm selling this thing! I couldn't open a page because yesterday because it kept FORCING OPEN my Play Store to entice me to buy Candy Crush!!

            I kept hitting the back button and it kept bringing me back to Candy Crush!! That would NEVER be allowed by Apple. For all its micromanagement styled ways, I'll take that any day. I could keep going on with my disappointments with either android or Samsung, but we're all strongly opinionated people who are not going to change over some comments so I just wish everyone the best of luck!
          • I know what you mean

            Tony, though I've never owned an iphone (my carrier hasn't offered it) I have noticed whenever I've used a friend's or coworker's iphone that the darn thing just does things better! I've had several Droid phones over the years and have never felt they operated as smooth and reliable as a simple iphone. The nature of computers and smartphones is that the system the user is accustomed to is the one which they prefer and feel is the easiest to use. Not so with the two major competing phone OSs. As an early pioneer of Android tablet usage, it wasn't until I finally bought the bullet and moved on to an iPad that I felt like I was getting the most out of what the touch experience should be.

            All that said, I am kinda glad to read your post because just a couple weeks ago I almost bought a Note 3. Now I think I'll hold out for either a large screen iphone or newer improvements in droidland.
          • Candy Crush and back button woes.

            I have both Samsung tablet and S4 phone. Any time that Candy Crush ad comes up, the back button does not make it disappear, but there is a close button (X in a circle) in the upper left corner, which makes it go away.
      • Looks like been under the stone for too long

        Windows Phone 8 is nothing like 6/6.5, but fresh new approach that even iOS7 is trying to mimic. It runs fast on half the comparable Android hardware and one of the best cloud service.

        Using Lumia 1020, been a Samsung user before and the difference is day and night. Awesome camera, sunlight readable display, super sensitive touch, Office, Skydrive and Nokia on device maps. Everyone in the family is now on a Nokia
      • Hmmmmm...WinMo 6 was years ago, before the iPhone. I know this.

        I owned one and it was great. HTC 621. Loved it.

        Then I had an iPhone 3G. Great phone. Superb for its day. Wicked bad ass phone for its day.

        Now I have a WP8. Even better. As happy as I could be. Wife has an Android LG Optimus G and she really likes it a lot.

        To each there own. But to say you hold a grudge over WinMo 6-6.5 is like a berserk thing to feel given the great way it performed for me back in the day.
    • Really...

      For which hand? My phone has the volume rockers on the thumbside if it is in my left hand and your phone will be on the index finger side in the opposite hand.
  • #3 better multitasking/app closing

    holding the home button and getting a bunch of crap to sift through is a joke
    • Is that Apple

      If your comment is about iPhone and iPad. Closing the apps that way is extremely quick and very uncomplicated.
      • why would it be about iphone?

        the article is about an S5

        on android you hold home button and get an endless slidewhow of crap you had "open", hitting back should just close things , it doesn't
      • Re: Is That Apple

        As an old guy who was forced to accept both iphone & ipad at work how do you close apps? They are both frustrating...
        • Easy

          double tap the home button and flick the apps up if you're on iOS 7.

          If you're on iOS 6 then you double tap the home button and hold your finger on one of the apps in the task manager at the bottom until the x appears and you just hit the x to close it.